English as a second language user’s Information Interaction in an e-Governmental context

Brazier, David (2019) English as a second language user’s Information Interaction in an e-Governmental context. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

The proliferation of web-based technologies has led most national governments to begin transitioning to a so called “e-service," where provision is made through purely digital means. Despite their obvious benefits for most users, these on-line systems present barriers of access. This research seeks to identify the current information seeking behaviours of English as a second language (ESL) users when performing e-government-related tasks, to ascertain where and why issues arise during this process. Utilising a multi-phase and integrated mixed methods approach, this research investigated how ESL users find information in an e-governmental context, how this differs from native users, and how differences can be supported by the system. The Participatory Design approach identified relevant search task topics, which were utilised during experiments in the second integrated mixed methods phase. Results from the mixed methods phase suggest that success may be less dependent on second language proficiency, but rather the search strategies employed and the fastidiousness of the user in assessing document relevance. There were a number of significant differences identified between ESL and native English participants, but also a number of similarities as both groups were unable to consistently predict when they had not performed particularly well. In light of a solely e-government system, this raises significant concerns about users and the information they rely on to make judgements that can have real world implications. A number of participant recommendations are suggested but one way of mitigating such concerns is to consider the use of system wizards. Performance was high between both groups when this system design was implemented, with positive sentiment (from both groups) towards such a tool as they provide a clear and structured platform to information.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Online Search Behaviour, Participatory Design, Thematic Analysis, Information Behaviour, Mixed Methods
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2019 17:27
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2019 08:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/39954

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